April 29, 2024

REEL | Ryan Gosling Takes 'The Fall Guy' – Stuntman Action

"She was the sexy bacon all along."
Ryan Gosling Emily Blunt David Leitch | The Fall Guy
Universal Pictures / 87North Productions
Action director David Leitch sends up his own Hollywood stuntman roots in the silly blockbuster romantic comedy The Fall Guy. Loosely based on the 1980s Lee Majors television show of the same name and filmed across Sydney, the film is a glossy piece of big studio comic spectacle reminiscent of popcorn cinema from decades past.

Starring the hyper-physical Ryan Gosling, more than "Just Ken," and an adorable Emily Blunt as a washed-up yet dashing stunt double performer and his charming camera operator turned "visionary director" ex forced together in a sitcom-style setup, the premise revolves around an increasingly messy criminal conspiracy involving a delinquent actor (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) gone missing, who gets mixed up with the wrong Aussies, and a meddlesome producer (Hannah Waddingham in the most horrendous wig).

Scripted by Drew Pearce, the key to The Fall Guy's supreme charm for its first three-quarters is the sparkling screwball chemistry between Gosling and Blunt as earnest film professionals too proud to be completely vulnerable with one another after a personal setback and career advancement drives them apart. Their pitter-patter of back-and-forth dialogue shines against the inventively executed CGI action visuals and practical stuntwork choreography.

Most of the self-aware film is well-made nonsense entertainment until the final act when we find out what happened to Taylor-Johnson's missing star, the light mystery, and the ultimate consequences. Leitch and Pearce then try to justify all these wildly rushed but dazzling setpieces for no substantial reason other than to see them on screen.

The Fall Guy does indeed deliver on its thrilling action romance spectacle enhanced by Gosling's blistering commitment to physical humour. However, when that action gets away from the central romance and meta jokes about actors and Hollywood productions, things falls apart quickly despite so much stylish fun as an otherwise enjoyable ride.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Inverse

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